We recognise that the success of our business depends on our talented workforce.
Employees throughout the Group are encouraged to participate in training and development programmes and to obtain professional qualifications relevant to their roles. In order to develop this further, the Group has broadened its management development and graduate recruitment programmes, which focus on recruiting talented graduates and developing skills and experience to produce potential future managers. The Company has also established a dedicated Learning and Development team who deliver in-house training to employees throughout the Group on a wide variety of personal development topics, tailored to each business to give employees targeted, bespoke training which will advance their development.
By supporting our people we will help them to grow and develop their skills and long-term career aspirations, which in turn rewards the Group by securing the dedication and motivation of those employees. Keeping our people inspired remains one of our highest priorities and so we focus on creating an environment where performance is rewarded, people are respected for their contributions, diversity and inclusion is encouraged and where integrity is upheld in all aspects of our work. The Group remains committed to providing equal opportunities free of discrimination and to developing and retaining talent to maximise business growth and performance.
The Company also recognises the need to provide flexible working practices to support the needs of employees to maintain a successful work-life balance. In support of this the Company operates a flexible working policy.
Our people are informed on matters affecting their employment and business developments in the Group through management briefings and newsletters, the Company's website, the Group's intranet resource and by the distribution of Preliminary and Interim Announcements and press releases. Copies of the Annual Report and Accounts are also made available to the operating businesses and this communication process enables employees to gain an understanding of the Group's objectives and performance and how they have contributed to those results.
We operate in a competitive marketplace and the Board recognises the importance of rewarding employees appropriately for the value they bring to the business. It aims to offer rewards that attract and retain key talent.
The Company also enables its employees to share in its successes through share ownership. At 31 December 2016, 293 employees were participants of the James Fisher Sharesave Scheme (2015: 290).
Our commitment to equal opportunities and diversity
It is the Company's policy to ensure that all employees and potential employees are treated fairly regardless of their race, beliefs, gender identity, age, marital status, sexual orientation or disability. We aim to ensure that people from any background or of any gender identity have equal access to employment, training and career progression opportunities. We strive to select individuals on merit and do not consider that targets or quotas are appropriate.
The Board recognises that having a diverse workforce allows the Group to better meet the differing requirements of our global customer base. Our strategy is to identify current and/or future potential successors to senior management roles throughout the Group and gender diversity is encouraged by the Board.
Set out below is a breakdown of the average number of persons by gender and category throughout the Group:
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All of our employees are treated with respect and dignity. Harassment of any kind is not tolerated. It is our policy and practice to give full and fair consideration to job applicants with disabilities. If an employee became disabled during the course of their employment, wherever practicable, the Group would make every effort to ensure that arrangements and adjustments are made and that, where required, appropriate training is provided to allow them to continue in their employment.
If you would like to see the range of job opportunities available within the James Fisher and Son group, please visit our careers section.